Overall: Best international bank for BRI 2019
No other international bank commits to the Belt and Road Initiative as HSBC does.
The bank became the first international bank to hire a head of BRI, Mukhtar Hussain, in April 2018.
Under Hussain, BRI-related revenue grew 13% in 2018 from an already large base. HSBC also claims to have mobilized almost twice as much capital as its closest competitor.
The bank’s wide presence in 66 countries and territories, including a majority-owned joint venture in Shenzhen, makes it a natural fit to help Chinese companies going abroad as well as bringing foreign companies into China. Half of the bank’s revenue comes from cross-border businesses.
During the awards period, the bank dominated BRI-related financing by arranging $166 billion of cross-border debt and equity capital markets and loans deals, easily the top player among the international banks.
HSBC is well aware that in terms of serving large Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs), it cannot compete with the big four banks in China, who have deep relationships with the regulators as well as SOE clients. However, with 26 wholesale China desks overseas, HSBC managed to serve privately owned enterprises well. The majority of its outbound Chinese commercial banking clients are privately owned enterprises, including Vanke and Fosun.
A leader in project finance, the bank has been brought on board by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to assist in entering a new market – Egypt. The two are co-arranging a construction contract for a Chinese SOE to build the New Administrative Capital project, covering 700 square kilometres; this will provide housing for up to 6.5 million people as well as host some Egyptian government institutions. In addition to lending $843 million, HSBC was also tasked with helping ICBC’s documentation preparation to meet international standards.
Another eye-catching project is helping the Sri Lanka government to improve the country’s hospital facilities. In March, HSBC acted as the sole mandated lead arranger and lender for a Sinosure-supported $72.25 million facility to finance the upgrading of health facilities at a number of hospitals in Sri Lanka.
With its international reputation, HSBC played an important role in persuading the Italian government to become the first G7 country to formally support the BRI in early 2019.